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40 Wonderful Animated Short Films Which Will Melt Your Heart

40 Wonderful Animated Short Films Which Will Melt Your Heart

Whether it’s Disney, Pixar, or Studio Ghibli, feature length animated films can be at once breathtaking and sublime. There is a sub-genre, however, which receives less attention. Animated shorts have found a new audience since the advent of the internet, but many may still be unaware of their charms. To correct this, here’s a list of 40 wonderful animated short films to send you to a new realm of creative discovery.

1. Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

    We start things off with one of Pixar’s many brilliant short animations. This plays on the fairy tale of storks delivering children to waiting parents. Written and directed by Peter Sohn, it was shown to cinemagoers in 2009 before the feature film Up.

    2. Kiwi!

    Kiwi

      A melancholic tale of a kiwi who desires to fly. The creature has varied success with his attempts, and there’s an ambiguous ending, but there’s a certain poignancy to the story.

      3. Alma

      Alma

        Ex-Pixar animator Rodrigo Blaas developed this 2009 animation. Another melancholic effort, it is nonetheless beautifully animated. It follows a child walking around Barcelona – “alma” meaning soul in Spanish, it reflects the maudlin nature of the film.

        4. Invention of Love

        Invention of Love

          “A love story from the world of gears and bolts”, this 2010 animation boasts remarkable animation. It consists of a bolt man who doesn’t quite understand how his world works.

          5. Steamboat Willie

          Steamboat Willie

            Walt Disney’s influential 1928 cartoon involved a certain Mickey Mouse. It was the first cartoon to feature fully synchronized sound, but Disney himself assisted with the animation. It’s also the source of parodies, as The Simpsons famously lampooned the cartoon with their Itchy & Scratchy characters.

            6. Where is Mama?

            Tadpoles

              Essentially a film about tadpoles searching for their mother, Te Wei’s 1960 animation has since been construed as an allegory of a particularly time in Chinese history. It’s worth noting, however, the animation is beautiful.

              7. The Old Lady and the Pigeons

              The Old Lady and the Pigeons

                Animation specialist Sylvain Chomet began work on this short film in 1991, finishing it circa 1996. In 1997 it won the grand prize at the Annecy Animated Film Festival. Its success paved the way for critically acclaimed feature films such as Bellville Rendezvous and The Illusionist.

                8. Johnny Express

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                Johnny Express

                  Alfred Image Work’s amusing short about an incredibly lazy delivery man in the future. It’s a mildly melancholic, darkly humorous look at the potential future of delivery services.

                  9. Pong

                  Pong

                    In 2013 the BBC’s flagship movie review show, hosted by Dr. Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo, held a nationwide competition for short films. Philip Childwell’s charming Pong won the competition, based around a ping pong ball whom heads on an adventure.

                    10. ALARM

                    Alarm

                      Independent animator Moo-hyun Jang’s take on a familiar concept for all of us – our respective alarms waking us up in the morning.

                      11. French Roast

                      French Roast

                        Oscar nominated for Best Short Film in 2009, Fabrice O. Jubert (formerly of DreamWorks) displays a high flying businessman running into a sport of bother in a café.

                        12. Zero

                        Zero

                          Christopher Kazelos’ stop animation film won numerous awards. This includes “Best Animation” from the LA Shorts Festival. The plot centres around a love story, with concepts such as discrimination also breaches.

                          13. Geri’s Game

                          Geri's Game

                            More Pixar based fun as Geri, an ageing gentleman enjoying a game of chess, takes himself on. It won an Oscar in 1997 for Best Animated Short.

                            14. Minions

                            Despicable Me

                              The adorable Minions from the popular Despicable Me feature films have spawned several animated shorts. In this one, two Minions bicker pointlessly about a banana.

                              15. Scrat – Gone Nutty

                              Scrat

                                This 2003 animated short was Oscar nominated. It features the squirrel Scrat from the Ice Age series; he is infatuated with an acorn and destructively anarchic in his attempts to bury it.

                                16. Lavatory – Lovestory

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                                Lavatory

                                  This 2007 Russian short film was nominated for an Oscar in 2008. Konstantin Bronzit directed, and it depicts the life of a lavatory attendant receiving a pleasant surprise.

                                  17. Harvie Krumpet

                                  Harvie Krumpet

                                    Adam Elliot (who later developed the excellent Mary and Max for 2009) directed this tale of Harvie who, despite his troubles, enjoys the simple pleasures of life. It won an Oscar in 2003.

                                    18. The Chubbs-Chubbs!

                                    ChubbsChubbs!

                                      Winner of an Oscar in 2002, this was an effort by Sony Pictures Imageworks to determine their strengths in computer animation. It follows Meeper, a janitor of an alien pub, whose efforts to do good backfire somewhat.

                                      19. For The Birds

                                      For The Birds

                                        Another fine effort from Pixar, who won an Oscar in 2001 thanks to their effort. Typically charming, it features a set of birds attempting to make themselves comfortable on a telephone wire.

                                        20. Father and Daughter

                                        Father and Daughter

                                          A Dutch animation from 2000 by Michael Dudok de Wit. It bagged an Oscar and some 20 other awards, and it follows the life of a young girl who wonders about her estranged father over many seasons.

                                          21. Bob’s Birthday

                                          Bob's Birthday

                                            From 1993 we find Bob enjoying his birthday. A cute animation, Bob begins to wonder if his dentistry career isn’t what he wanted.

                                            22. A Close Shave

                                            A Close Shave

                                              Nick Park’s enduring classic from 1995 follows Wallace and Gromit on a new adventure. Park took his skills to a new level with this story, introducing Shaun the Sheep to the world.

                                              23. The Old Man and the Sea

                                              The Old Man and the Sea

                                                Based on Ernest Hemingway’s classic novella. Its unique style, which is paint-on-glass animation, takes the story’s classic themes and adds new life. Worthy of the Nobel Prize winning author.

                                                24. Tin Toy

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                                                Tin Toy

                                                  Pixar showing off their skills once again, this time back in 1988. An Oscar winner, its pioneering animation paced the way for the likes of smash hits such as Toy Story. It depicts a young child at play with a toy.

                                                  25. The Man Who Planted Trees

                                                  The Man Who Planted Trees

                                                    Here’s another fine Oscar winner from 1987. Featuring sensational animation, it’s based on Jean Gioni’s eponymous story. It tells the tale of a shepherd’s attempts to re-forest a featureless valley.

                                                    26. Balance

                                                    Balance

                                                      Released in 1989, and winner of an Oscar in the same year, Balance is a unique tale which is set in what appears to be a dystopian future. A set of numbered men begin to, essentially, mess around in their environment as they discover the joy of having fun.

                                                      27. Bibo

                                                      Bibo

                                                        Contemporary fair now from Anton Chistiakov and Mikhail Dmitriev. Bibo is a poignant story about a lonely robot whom invents a luxurious world to ignore the severe nature of reality.

                                                        28. Creature Comforts

                                                        Creature Comforts

                                                          Nick Parks’ engaging 1990 Oscar winner which began a highly popular series. It follows creatures in a zoo who are interviewed about their experiences.

                                                          29. The Wrong Trousers

                                                          The Wrong Trousers

                                                            Nick Park won another Oscar for this superb Claymation film – by 1993 his mastery of the style was renowned. The Wrong Trousers follows Wallace and Gromit through another adventure, with a  devious penguin taking advantage of Wallace’s inventive spree.

                                                            30. Bunny

                                                            Bunny

                                                              Blue Sky Studio’s Oscar winner from 1998, Bunny follows an evening in the life of the eponymous female rabbit. She is bothered by a persistent moth in her home, which leads the way to a fantastical experience.

                                                              31. Story Time

                                                              Monty Python

                                                                Terry Gilliam transformed the surreal Monty Python’s Flying Circus into a show of utter madness. His unusual use of cutout animation was unique at the time (the late 1960s), and paved the way towards his career as a director. Story Time itself begins around the life of Don the Cockroach, but quickly spirals into mayhem.

                                                                32. Mr. Hublot

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                                                                Mr. Hublot

                                                                  Contemporary animation with the 2014 Oscar winner by Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares. The story is set around the eponymous protagonist, who appears to suffer from OCD. His daily routine is shattered by the arrival of a new pet.

                                                                  33. Paperman

                                                                  Paperman

                                                                    This was Disney’s first Best Animated Short Oscar (which it won in 2013) since 1970. This beautifully looking tale blends traditional animation with modern technology. It tells the story of George, an accountant, whose paper plane making habits are an attempt to woo the woman of his dreams.

                                                                    34. Strange Invaders

                                                                    Strange Invaders

                                                                      Cordell Barker’s loveably bizarre 2002 animation about a quiet couple whose lives are turned upside down by the sudden arrival of a child.

                                                                      35. Boundin’

                                                                      Boundin'

                                                                        More animated excellence from Pixar, who were Oscar nominated again for this effort. From 2003, this time we follow the life of a sheep who is coveted amongst his peers for his excellent dancing skills.

                                                                        36. Das Rad

                                                                        Das Rad

                                                                          Stop motion from Germany’s Chris Stenner, Arvid Uibel and Heidi Wittlinger. Oscar nominated in 2002, this inventive short tracks a hillside and a couple of sentient rocks from ancient times to the future.

                                                                          37. Ryan

                                                                          Ryan

                                                                            Chris Landerth’s tribute to Ryan Larkin (an influential Canadian animator). Released in 2004, it won some 60 awards (including an Oscar) for its unique style and emotional depth. Although it appears to use modern live action footage, rotoscoping, or motional capture, none of these techniques were used. It is entirely hand drawn.

                                                                            38. One Man Band

                                                                            One Man Band

                                                                              Pixar again prove their short animation expertise with a jaunty Oscar nominated film. Unusually, One Man Band is completely free of dialogue; it follows the exploits of two competing musicians fighting for a customer’s money.

                                                                              39. The Danish Poet

                                                                              The Danish Poet

                                                                                Inspiring Oscar winning animation from Torill Kove in 2006. The story follows the exploits of Kaspar Jørgensen as he travels to Norway to meet an acclaimed writer. A bittersweet tale ensues, taking in themes such as love, loss, and the nature of life.

                                                                                40. Even Pigeons Go To Heaven

                                                                                Pigeons

                                                                                  A French short from Samuel Tourneux, nominated for an Oscar in 2007. Distinctly French in tone and style, it is also darkly humorous in its playfully melancholic nature. It follows the elderly Mr. Moulin as he is duped out of his savings, only for an unusual turn of events to play out.

                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Aardman Wallace and Gromit – Jordanhill School and D&T Dept via flickr.com

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                                                                                  Alex Morris

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                                                                                  Last Updated on September 16, 2019

                                                                                  How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                                                                                  How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

                                                                                  You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

                                                                                  We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

                                                                                  The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

                                                                                  Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

                                                                                  1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

                                                                                  Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

                                                                                  For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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                                                                                  • (1) Research
                                                                                  • (2) Deciding the topic
                                                                                  • (3) Creating the outline
                                                                                  • (4) Drafting the content
                                                                                  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
                                                                                  • (6) Revision
                                                                                  • (7) etc.

                                                                                  Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

                                                                                  2. Change Your Environment

                                                                                  Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

                                                                                  One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

                                                                                  3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

                                                                                  Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

                                                                                  Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

                                                                                  My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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                                                                                  Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

                                                                                  4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

                                                                                  If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

                                                                                  Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

                                                                                  I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

                                                                                  5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

                                                                                  I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

                                                                                  Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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                                                                                  As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

                                                                                  6. Get a Buddy

                                                                                  Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

                                                                                  I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

                                                                                  7. Tell Others About Your Goals

                                                                                  This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

                                                                                  For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

                                                                                  8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

                                                                                  What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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                                                                                  9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

                                                                                  If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

                                                                                  Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

                                                                                  10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

                                                                                  Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

                                                                                  Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

                                                                                  11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

                                                                                  At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

                                                                                  Reality check:

                                                                                  I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

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                                                                                  Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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